PHOENIX, Ariz. — Arizon’s Grand Canyon University has announced that it has decided to grant employee benefits to homosexual staff while reiterating its belief that marriage can only be defined as the union of one man man and one woman.
The university says that it made the change as federal and state governments “have recently changed their long-held definition of marriage and now recognize same-sex marriage as lawful.”
“GCU is making a conscious choice to maintain its religious beliefs, while respecting and honoring its neighbors, as well as the system of government and laws that exist today, by extending employee benefits to spouses of lawfully married same-sex couples,” an unidentified official wrote on the university website on Friday.
“To be clear, though, the university’s decision in this instance, and the recent changes, or any future changes, in the government’s definition of marriage, do not, and will not, change GCU’s sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman,” it said.
The university acknowledged that some would be disappointed with its decision to extend benefits, while others would be unhappy that the Christian university is retaining its biblical beliefs about marriage. It asserted that granting the benefits will allow the school to better witness to employees.
“If providing benefits to all who are legally married enables the University to continue ministering to its employees and their families within an increasingly complex cultural context, then we will gladly provide benefits,” it wrote. “We hope that in doing so we will be permitted to withdraw from fruitless culture wars that tend to yield more heat than light and more hostility than genuine cultural engagement.”
As previously reported, Hope College in Holland, Michigan, part of the Reformed Church in America, made a similar announcement earlier this year, asserting that the allowance was made to mirror state law.
However, other Christian institutions have stated that their policies will not change to adapt with the culture or government, including Fuller Seminary, Gordon College, Westmont College, Wheaton College, Azusa Pacific University and Messiah College.
Some spoke against a decision this summer by Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana to change their hiring policy to allow the employment of homosexuals who have “wed” their partners.
“Please read 1 Corinthians 6:9, [which declares], ‘Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers or anyone practicing homosexuality.’ How can you hire someone who will not inherit the Kingdom of God and teach students what the Bible says?” one commenter stated.
Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 by Southern Baptists to provide higher education to Baptists on the West Coast and to eliminate the need to travel out of state.